How to Help Your Employees With Financial Planning
today at 11:37 am
Employers have many responsibilities. You might not think that helping your workers manage their money falls under your purview, but reconsider that notion. They provide a valuable service in return for cash, and it will cause you considerable headaches if they decide they have a bad bargain and choose to look elsewhere.
If it’s been some time since you managed a household budget on a laborer’s salary, you could use a reality check on how hard today’s grind is. Here’s how to help your employees with financial planning, foster more loyalty and ensure your team feels valued for their contributions.
1. Be Respectful With Budget Suggestions
Good business demands that you learn from other people’s mistakes. You don’t want to repeat the missteps of Fortune 500 companies who insulted their staff with unrealistic sample budgets that assume a side hustle at best and omit essentials like food, heat and child care at worst.
Realistically, you can’t plan for each employee’s unique expenses — a chronically ill staffer might have high health care costs while young parents may struggle to afford child care. A one-size-fits-all-budget won’t work, but you should still privately crunch the numbers to see the reality of your workers’ struggles.
Before you issue the clichéd advice to go with a 50/30/20 framework, with only 50% of your employees’ income devoted to necessities, consider how realistic such tips are — and how insulting they sound to someone currently living the struggle. Today, many renters spend more than 50% of their take-home pay on housing alone, given wage stagnation and soaring inflation.
An alternative approach to offering one-size-fits-none budget advice is to provide voluntary financial planning services. Those interested in the extra help can seek it, and you don’t risk accidentally alienating anyone.
2. Assist With Child Care
The pandemic brought the full reality of the second shift into mainstream public awareness. Of the 140,000 jobs lost last December, women got all the pink slips — indicating that struggling to keep up with homeschooling and a career was too much for many.
If you have the room at your facility, consider offering onsite day care. Options like flextime also help ensure young parents can get to the center before they incur an extra fee for after-hours pickup.
3. Help With Health Insurance Costs
As a responsible small-business owner, you probably resent soaring health care costs as much as your workers. You want to make sure your employees are well enough to report for duty, but prices keep rising.
However, offering something is best if you have it in your budget. Individual employees may pay hundreds monthly through the Marketplace and could still have expenses topping $10,000 a year once you factor in copays and deductibles. If you have at least 15 employees, you can often find premiums lower than $250 per staffer — and that extra $3,000 a year can make a lifesaving difference to someone struggling to afford monthly insulin.
4. Include Disability Coverage
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over a quarter of all Americans live with a disability. Many impairments don’t progress to the point where they interfere with working ability. However, financial planning soon becomes overwhelming for those who lose their incomes.
Private disability insurance won’t cover individuals with preexisting conditions minus a rider that disallows the ailment most likely to steal their ability to earn an income. However, you can offer a policy as an employer that doesn’t leave them with no safety net.
5. Carefully Select Retirement Offerings
If you chose the first 401(k) plan you saw for your employees, you might not be helping them make the most of their retirement. The traditional and Roth IRA contribution limit for 2021 remains at $6,000, or up to $7,000 for those over 50.
However, a SIMPLE IRA, designed for fewer than 100 employees, has a $13,500 contribution limit. If you want your workers to save more for their golden years, consider switching.
6. Consider Employee Stock Options
Think about it — you probably worked harder when building your business than you did when you labored for another. If your employees have a stake in your company’s success, they’ll feel more engaged and take more ownership of their production.
Employee stock purchase plans let your workers purchase company stock at a discounted price through payroll deductions. Only staff members who don’t already have a 5% interest are eligible to participate.
Help Your Employees With Financial Planning
Helping your employees with financial planning takes understanding and a realistic look at the numbers your staffers face every day. Approach the topic with sensitivity by using the above tips.